The Hon. John Charlton Jocelyn

The Hon. John Charlton Jocelyn

Regiment:Royal Navy, HMS Barham
Country:United Kingdom
Service Number:unknown
Cemetary/Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel 45, Col. 2)
Awards:1939-1945 Star
1939-1945 War Medal

Born in 1924, Midshipman Jocelyn died 25th November 1941, aged 17 aboard HMS Barham in the Mediterranean.

He was the younger son of Captain Robert Soame Jocelyn, 8th Earl of Roden and Elinor, Countess of Roden (nee Parr), of Merchiston, Larne, County Antrim.

Brother to the Hon Robert William Jocelyn (1909-1993), later 9th Earl of Roden (m. Clodagh Rose Kennedy), and Elizabeth (b. 1907) and Mabel (1915-1985). Lady Mabel married R. N. Brooke, a former Ronian.

Following his father and brother, John was a pupil at St Ronan’s from 1935 to 1937. In March 1937 The Ronian reported that:

“The Bishop of Chichester held the Confirmation of the boys in the Chapel. Unfortunately Jocelyn was in bed with a cold, so the Bishop most kindly went up to the Sick Wing and confirmed him there. He gave a delightful little address to John personally, before he went down to the Chapel.

In the same year The Ronian recalled that: “Jocelyn got into the Navy, in a term when there was keen competition. When people had been sorted out after the interview there were 68 left, and only 32 of those were taken after the written exam, so that Jossy did very well to get in.”

He entered Dartmouth in 1937, leaving in April 1941 (Hawke Term).

Dartmouth Royal Naval College, 1941 (top right standing)

Following his brother into the Navy, John went on to join HMS Barham, a battleship that was sailing with the Mediterranean Fleet from Alexandria to cover sorties by Malta and Alexandria-based cruiser forces against Italian convoys heading for Libya.

On 25th November 1941, HMS Barham was hit on the port side by three torpedoes from the German U-boat, U-331, north of Sidi Barrani, Egypt. As the ship rolled over to port, her after magazines exploded and she quickly sank. John Jocelyn was lost, aged just 17, along with 861 of his shipmates.

HMS Barham and her Ship’s Company

Viscount Jocelyn became Lieutenant Commander, and was captain of the destroyer HMS Panther. He was mentioned in despatches in 1942 for ‘distinguished service” and again in 1943 for ‘going to aid of vessels attacked by the enemy, picking up survivors and saving lives” when the Panther took on board the crew and troops of SS Strathallan which had been torpedoed. HMS Panther moved to the Mediterranean on convoy duties to Malta. She was transferred with her sister ship HMS Pathfinder to the North Atlantic. Returning to the Mediterranean in July 1943, she served as part of the Sicily invasion fleet and then at Salerno. HMS Panther was attacked in the Scarpento Channel in the Aegean Sea by Junkers Ju 87 Stuka aircraft of I. Group Stuka Wing 3 from Megara airbase on 9th October 1943, during the Dodecanese Campaign. She sank within one minute. Her crew was saved by the Greek destroyer Miaoulis.

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